A migraine hangover, also known as postdrome, is the final phase of a migraine attack, and it can last up to 2 days. A migraine hangover can cause malfunctions in the body and impair the ability to think.

Migraine attacks can last for days and typically have four phases. Postdrome is the last phase, and it typically begins after the most acute and painful phase of a migraine attack, the headache. However, a person may not experience a migraine hangover every time they have a migraine attack.

This article will review migraine hangovers and their symptoms, causes, and treatment options. This article will also explain when a person should contact a doctor and how they can reduce their risk of experiencing postdrome.

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A migraine hangover, or postdrome, is the last phase of a migraine attack that a person may experience. Postdrome may cause symptoms similar to those a person might have after a night of heavy drinking.

Postdrome symptoms often go away within 24 hours but may last longer. This phase typically causes less pain than the headache phase, but for some people, postdrome may be equally debilitating.

Not everyone experiences postdrome during migraine attacks. A migraine hangover does not always happen as part of a migraine attack, and experiencing postdrome once does not mean that a person will experience it every time they have a migraine attack.

What is a migraine attack?

Migraine attacks are similar to headaches. However, they cause much more severe pain that involves only one side of the head. The headache and other symptoms that migraine can cause can be so debilitating that a person may only be able to lie down in a dark room and rest while they are experiencing a migraine attack.


According to the American Migraine Foundation, migraine attacks typically involve four phases:

prodrome or premonitory phasea few hours to days
aura5–60 minutes
headache4–72 hours
postdromeup to 2 days

Learn more about migraine.

The symptoms of migraine hangover may include:

  • fatigue
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty comprehending
  • depression
  • euphoric mood

Other migraine symptoms a person may experience include:

  • dizziness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • body aches
  • neck stiffness
  • mood changes
  • vision problems
  • difficulty speaking

People should contact a doctor if they experience a migraine attack more than once per week or if their migraine attacks are becoming more severe. A doctor can advise a person on how to cope with migraine and prescribe medications to reduce migraine symptoms.

A person should seek urgent medical attention if they experience a migraine attack lasting longer than 72 hours or an aura phase lasting longer than 60 minutes. A person should also promptly contact their doctor if they have a migraine attack just after giving birth.

People should seek medical attention if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • difficulty speaking or remembering things
  • drowsiness or confusion
  • seizures
  • high temperature
  • a sudden, extremely severe headache
  • weakness or an inability to move the leg, arm, or face muscles on one side of the body

Doctors do not know the exact cause of migraine hangovers or migraine attacks. However, some believe that the changes in activity and blood flow people experience during the aura and headache phases may have an involvement in triggering postdrome.

More research is necessary to determine the causes of migraine and its phases.

The treatment for migraine may include:

Doctors may also recommend some lifestyle strategies to reduce the risk of migraine attacks and reduce the symptoms when they occur. These include:

During a migraine attack, lying down in a dark and quiet room may help reduce symptoms. Applying wet, cold towels or cold pads to the head may also improve headaches.

After the headache phase ends, people should allow their bodies to rest, drink enough fluids, and eat a healthy diet. These habits can help them recover more quickly from the migraine attack and postdrome.

Currently, there is no cure for migraine. This is because doctors do not yet know the exact causes of migraine attacks. However, people can manage and reduce the frequency of migraine attacks by taking medications and making lifestyle changes.

Migraine attacks are typically less frequent in older adults. In some cases, migraine attacks may stop during pregnancy or after menopause. However, they may be different for each person.

Avoiding known triggers may help prevent migraine attacks from happening. However, there is no way to fully prevent migraine or migraine hangovers.

Activities that may help prevent postdrome include:

  • doing yoga
  • avoiding the use of electronic devices
  • resting
  • drinking plenty of water
  • exercising regularly
  • avoiding skipping meals
  • reducing and managing stress
  • maintaining a regular sleep pattern

Migraine hangover, or postdrome, is the last phase of a migraine attack. A migraine hangover may not occur every time someone has a migraine attack. Some people may not experience postdrome at all.

Migraine hangovers may cause symptoms similar to those a person might experience after a night of heavy drinking, including fatigue and difficulty concentrating. Resting, staying well hydrated, and avoiding skipping meals can help people recover from migraine hangovers.

Doctors do not yet know the exact causes of migraine hangovers. However, some think they may be a result of the changes in activity and blood flow that occur in the body during a migraine attack.